Kids Hope Alliance News Story Teaser Image
Five Women Who Contributed to Inventions Throughout History
March 21, 2024
With Women’s History Month coming to an end, I thought it’d be fun to highlight the contributions of some outstanding women throughout history. We are so fortunate to be living in a time where we can reap the benefits of those before us, who came up with wonderful ways to solve problems and improve our quality of life. Among those problem solvers, were many women who invented things that have greatly impacted our lives now. Throughout this blog post, I will be highlighting some inventions that we have thanks to women. But first, let’s have a quick history lesson.

A Short Lesson on Women’s History Month 

Women’s History Month originally started as... you guessed it: Women’s History Week. To correspond with International Women’s Day, in 1978 there was a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California, to celebrate the accomplishments of women throughout history. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women were the ones who planned and executed this celebration. Over the following years, more communities started having their own celebrations. In 1980, a combination of women’s groups and historians (led by the National Women’s History Alliance) lobbied for national recognition.  

In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. Not too long after, in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9 designating March as “Women’s History Month”.  

Now that we’ve had a quick history lesson, let’s start learning about some awesome inventions by women. 

Maria E. Beasley: An Improved Life Raft  

If you’ve ever been on a cruise ship, you are familiar with the feeling of realizing that you are floating on a huge structure in the middle of the ocean. Although we don’t expect things to go wrong, it’s comforting to know that there are systems and resources in place to help us in the event that we end up in a very dangerous and life-threatening situation. And for that, one person to thank is Maria E. Beasley for her contributions to ship safety. 

In 1880, Beasley invented a highly improved life raft that was collapsible, had storing capabilities for perishable provisions, and was reversible in the case of it overturning at sea. Beasley also invented other things, including an anti-derailment device for trains.  

Mary Anderson: Windshield Wipers 

If you’re anything like me, you don’t like driving on rainy days. But thanks to Mary Anderson, driving in those conditions are a lot safer because she invented windshield wipers. Before her invention, a common way of dealing with windshields blurred by rain was to stop occasionally and manually wipe the rain off. Thankfully, one day on the way from Alabama to New York City, the idea popped into Anderson’s head. In 1903, she was awarded with a patent for her windshield wipers.  

Marie Van Brittan Brown: The First Home Security System 

Home security has come a very long way. From watch dogs to Ring, somewhere along the way, a very smart woman came up with the first home security system. Her system was made up of three peepholes, a camera connected to a viewing monitor in the house, a voice component that allowed communication with the person at the door, a security button that contacted the police, and a remote-controlled lock for the front door.  

On December 6, 1969, she was awarded a patent for her spectacular invention that paved the way for many home security systems in the future.  

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson: Research Leading to the Invention of Caller ID 

The next time you get a phone-call, and you are able to decide whether or not you want to pick up, thank Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson for her contributions to caller ID. As a physicist, Dr. Jackson conducted a lot of research that led to the inventions of many great things that help us out today. From 1976-1991, her research at Bell Laboratories contributed to the invention of caller ID, amongst other things including call waiting and fiber-optic cables.

Dr. Ann Tsukamoto: Blood Stem Cell Isolation 

I’ll admit, I’m not the most versed when it comes to scientific things. But that won’t stop me from telling you about the groundbreaking research that Dr. Ann Tsukamoto was a part of. While working at the first stem cell company, SyStemix, Inc., Dr. Tsukamoto discovered how to isolate blood-forming stem cells. In 1991, she received the patent for this method. Together, she and her colleagues obtained seven U.S. patents, all dealing with stem cells. Her research has led to ways of treating many diseases, including cancer. 


There are so many other women who played a role in inventions that are not included in this blog post. You should do some research of your own. I’m sure you’ll be amazed by what you learn. 

By: Madison Beckford